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Panoz unveils new car to mark company's 25th anniversary
The Esperante Spyder GT limited edition was unveiled Thursday night at the Panoz headquarters in Hoschton. The company plans to only build 25 to mark the company’s 25th anniversary. - photo by Lisa Laskey | Times Regional Staff

The patriarch, Don Panoz, PhD, lightly pressed the starter button, and within moments the deep rumble of the Esperante Spyder GT rendered silence, then there was a burst of applause from guests at the Thursday evening unveiling by Panoz LLC of its newest and 25th anniversary edition luxury sports car.

The Spyder, along with an anniversary edition of its existing Panoz Roadster and Panoz GTR1, was three of a half-dozen exclusive sports and touring cars from the auto developer, under the admiring gazes of a showroom filled to capacity with guests from all public and private sectors. It was about time, was the general consensus. Panoz last offered a street-legal consumer model in the late 90s and it received tepid to poor reviews.The concept didn’t die; it just went underground, and back to top engineers for refining.

Well wishers, public and private leaders, and enamored auto aficionados alike filled the new 10,000-square-foot showroom and racing museum, which made its debut on Thursday.
Both connected venues, located on Ga. 124 in Braselton, will be open for the public to tour, as well as remain available for private events with proceeds going to local charities, said Bill Orr, Panoz LLC COO, and mayor of the town of Braselton.

The company expects to create only 25 of the exclusive Spyder model.

The lighter, more powerful version of the original hand-built Panoz convertible features lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum structures, but also a unique modular extruded aluminum chassis that is more rigid and durable than many other performance coupes, according to its engineers.

With a price range of $189,000 to $229,000 for a “nicely equipped” machine, would-be owners can pick between a 430 horsepower engine to an upgraded 800, housed in a sleek body that tips the scale at just over 3,000 pounds.

The Esperante Spyder GT interior is made of Nappa leather, and its safety features include a four-point safety harness and other technical advances.

There’s even an iPad mini in-dash to handle GPS, a music library and other customer-specified options.

The just-introduced Spyder GT of the evening can be the consummate dream for a driver, or a mere starting point for those whose budget and creativity allow for almost unlimited options, according to John Leverett, vice president of sales and marketing for Panoz LLC.

“Panoz LLC looks forward to providing our customers with their dream automobile that is
custom-built for them,” said Leverett.

“Our program is to build our cars based upon our Panoz designs to the specifications of our customers. Our limited production allows our craftsmen to spend time investigating finish materials and engines, transmission technologies to set each car apart.”

Panoz built its reputation winning at the race track, and for innovative designs such as its most recent DeltaWing race cars.

The organization’s street-legal versions were first introduced in 2000, and went on hiatus in 2007 as engineers retooled and refined their offering.

The Panoz Spyder GT is the Panoz official race toward the future, bringing the best of its storied legacy along for the ride.

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